The hypocrisy of the 7epaLifes

By March 26, 2024News

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


IS the running political feud between Mayor Belen Fernandez and the 7 epaLiFes over with the surprise passage of the 2024 annual budget for the city? Not by a long shot especially with the 2025 elections just around the corner.

The unexpected approval of the annual budget by the opposition after a boycott speaks volumes of what’s not obvious, particularly behind the hypocritical gesture of extending the “hand of reconciliation.” To be sure, not one of the 7 epaLiFes is known for his/her integrity, not after what they tried to holding two annual budgets hostage.

So, let’s look at the consequential facts staring down the 7 epaLiFes’ eyes after their series of devil-may-care attitude and actions that led to their surprise endorsement of the budget:

  1. The totally unexpected indictment of Red Erfe-Mejia, Alfie Fernandez and Irene Lim-Acosta finally dawned on them that they will be made accountable by the law after all. They realized that a conviction will mean not only imprisonment or fine but disqualification to hold any public position in the future and, worse cause a permanent stigma to their respected family names in Pangasinan.

They are finally afraid to risk further aggravation in their downhill crash from their comfort zone as members of the “untouchable” majority bloc. Hence,  “Let’s pass the budget.”

2. They know that the payback for their refusal to grant the city hall employees benefits in 2023 already have damning consequences to their 2025 election bids.  They hope to redeem themselves by passing the 2024 budget and claim credit that it was their action that finally made the payment of the benefits possible. (They obviously believe social media and more cash will make the lie work). “Kaya, Let’s just pass the budget.”

3. They are confident that their extension of their hand of reconciliation will not only lead to the eventual withdrawal of the cases filed against them but will further hold back the Fernandez administration from filing cases vs. documented corruption committed during the Brian Lim administration.  This obviously stems from their consistent view of the mayor and the minority councilors with disdain, as “gullible cowards” who don’t have the gumption to fight back even when taunted. “Sige, pass the biudget na.”

4. They believe the passage will reboot themselves as fiscalizers, no longer as obstructionists and saboteurs of the city administration’s programs. They bank on the usual capacity of the electorate to easily forgive and forget.. “Sa lagay ba naman! Ok na 2024 budget!”

So, the public must be warned. They must not be lured into believing that the 7 epaLiFes have reformed. Not a chance. Hardened political recidivists don’t change, only their strategies change to serve their demonic, nefarious agenda.

After all, what kind of people believe that shouting “putang ina mo” in the direction of their presiding officer is legally justified? But they were noticeably muted on their lack of respectable breeding and integrity for cussing irresponsibly. With a totally discredited mindset like that, the city should still expect the worst from the 7 epaLifes!

Then the question foremost in minds of many: Will VM Kua, Minority Leader Michael and his peers in the minority eventually withdraw the criminal complaints that already indicted Councilors Red, Alfie and Irene?

Dagupeños better pray that they don’t accept a “negotiated compromise”. If they do, their own credibility as advocates for good governance will be blown away instantly and will make them on equal footing with the 7 epaLifes as another bunch of discredited transactional politicians of the worst kind.

But they can move the efforts to promote good governance, accountability and transparency one notch higher if someone will file the complaints against those who blatantly committed graft during the Brian Lim administration.  So far, Mayor Belen only went as far as threatening to file the cases, still not willing to ‘walk the talk’.

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ART’S LEGACY. Photographer par excellence Art Valenzuela will be hard not to miss when people begin to reminisce and recall images of sceneries, what and how life was not only in Dagupan and elsewhere in Pangasinan but in the Ilocos region.

A year ago, we talked about setting up a photo exhibit featuring his father’s and his own collections but his humility and pride for his father’s works preceded him. He said he wanted to make an exhibit of his father’s historic documents the priority even as he said his first dilemma was to sort out the thousands of photos in his computer.

His photo albums and those of his father, Marcial, are priceless.

He was excited by the thought that a photo exhibit will be very interesting with the use of today’s technology. We agreed the renovated MacArthur’s House (West Central Elementary School 1) would be the ideal venue, and we can find support from Cong. Toff de Venecia, the proven patron of arts and creative work.

But Art’s gone. I pray his family can consider realizing Art’s dream while he watches from above in the company of his Creator.

His passion for images that evoke life stories will be his lifelong legacy.

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EL NINO NO IMPACT ON SP. Senator Imee Marcos knows whence she talks about the worsening impact of El Niño. She was in Pangasinan again last week to warn Pangasinan towns and cities again about it.

Unfortunately, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan appears hardly impressed. It has not initiated any move to craft a supplemental budget to provide meaningful assistance to the vulnerable farmers.

Perhaps, a day’s ocular trip through planned routes of PLEX by the board members and VG Mark Lambino will help convince that farmlands are fast drying up, leaving the farmers looking out helplessly.

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